Sunday, August 3, 2008

Another food entry

I'm not nearly as prolific a cook or food writer as Pam, but I do enjoy doing both. Yesterday I made a huge dinner that took about three hours to make and not much time at all to scarf down. I have been craving fresh summer tastes and food that won't undo all the hard work I've been doing at the gym, and these recipes were perfect.

We started with gazpacho, which Jarred loves and I haven't made in years. I decided to puree it instead of leaving it in big chunks like I normally do. The chunks always make me feel like I'm eating salsa - it felt much more soupy as a puree. I covered some shrimp in cumin and grilled them before tossing them on top of the soup, and I really liked the contrast of hot spicy shrimp and cold soup. I didn't have Tobasco, but I did use Spicy V-8 instead of tomato juice as the gazpacho base.

The recipe made a HUGE bowl, which will make a nice addition to lunches for the next week.

Then we had grilled fish tacos. Now, I've never been to California. I have never eaten (I'm
guessing) "authentic" fish tacos. I don't know what that means, but I imagine I'd know it if I'd eaten it. I have had fried fish tacos at a few places, including the controversial Border Cafe (it's a go-to fun and casual cheap eats place for me, but that "authenticity" issue seems to be a sticking point for many people) and I've had grilled fish tacos at the even more controversial Cheesecake Factory. In the interest of health, taste, and keeping my kitchen walls grease-splatter free, I opted for the grilled. The recipe I used came with a great marinade that called for Old Bay but didn't need it. Didn't need the honey, either, which I discovered because our honey has entirely crystallized and I was too lazy to do anything about it. I also didn't feel like messing with the gas grill on the rainy porch, so I grilled the tilapia in about 2 minutes on the rusty trusty Foreman. Jarred wanted whole wheat tortillas, which even after heating weren't very soft or flexible, but we're not good at folding them anyway so I don't think it would have made much difference anyway.

I chopped some red cabbage (since we don't have a shredder - we're missing a lot of things which I hadn't realized during the school year) and cilantro, made a mild avacado crema and modified the dressing in the recipe to be a mix of fat-free sour cream, adobo sauce, some chipotle seeds, lime juice, and cumin. A lingering smoky spice, it was just bordering Too Hot For Jenny To Eat, but not quite. I also made one of Jarred's favorites, a black bean and corn salad with an olive oil/lime/cayenne dressing that really makes the entire dish (recipe below; note: I only use one can of black beans because I like mine with more vegetables, and I use one or two scallions at most because they can get really strong).

We ended with my first, and very successful, attempt at a granita.
The recipe was simple enough, and I used some leftover watermelon puree to pour on the granita before serving to make it a little juicy. For a dinner party I'd consider adding a little vodka to make a slushy drink/dessert. I definitely want to make more of these. Very refreshing and really easy. I'd like to try a lemon/blueberry version next, and maybe a spiced cider version on a warm autumn day?

I love how fresh everything tasted and how relatively easy it was to compile. I'd love some suggestions for things to do with the leftover adobo cream - we have tons of it! Burger topping seems too obvious... any ideas?


Corn and Black Bean Salad
½ cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
⅛ tsp ground cayenne pepper
2 15oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1½ cups frozen corn kernels
1 avocado peeled, pitted and diced
1 red bell pepper chopped
2 tomatoes chopped
6 green onions thinly sliced
½ cup fresh cilantro

Place lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and cayenne pepper in a small jar. Cover with lid, and shake untl well mixed. In a salad bowl, combine beans, corn, avocado, bell pepper, tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro. Shake lime dressing and pour over salad. Stir to coat and serve.

2 comments:

TE said...

I'm super impressed. Why can't I get into gazpacho?

Pam said...

I can't get into gazpacho - or any other chilled soup, for that matter - either. But it all looks great!

And I'm with you on the Border Cafe love ;)